Nudging public policy to promote growth in the social enterprise sector: a Manitoba case study

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Gheorghe, Maria C.
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Social enterprises are important for local economic development in Canada and have an impact that goes far beyond their financial contributions to the economy. As a relatively new field though, public policy is needed to help grow the social enterprise sector. The purpose of this thesis is to assess whether nudging, an approach from behavioural economics, could used as part of public policy aimed at promoting growth in this sector. To answer this question, this thesis engages in a case study of the Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy (MSES) and its related policy documents (MSES 2017 and MSES 2018). This thesis uses MSES Pillar 3: Expand Market Opportunities as a litmus test for whether nudging, vis-à-vis public policy, can promote growth in Manitoba’s social enterprise sector. Nudging is defined using the framework of choice architecture, addressing non-financial barriers, and experimentation. The key findings of this research are that nudging is already a part of successful public policy which helps promote growth in Manitoba’s social enterprise sector and opportunities exist to use nudging to expand market opportunities for local social enterprises. Both these findings support this thesis’ central argument that nudging should be used to promote growth in the social enterprise sector.
MSES, social enterprise sector, Nudging, Public Policy, Manitoba, Behavioural economics